Hepatitis A outbreak tied to berries spreads to 1 more state

An outbreak of hepatitis A in Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin has been "potentially linked" to blackberries from the Fresh Thyme chain of grocery stores, authorities say.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A hepatitis A outbreak tied to blackberries sold in Fresh Thyme grocery stores now includes 16 confirmed cases in six states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 16 cases of hepatitis A, including seven in Nebraska, as part of the outbreak in Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

US map highlighting states which have cases

Photo//CDC

Fresh Thyme has said it’s cooperating with the investigation and working with suppliers to identify the source of the contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has urged consumers in Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania who bought fresh blackberries from any Fresh Thyme Farmers Market location during September 9-September 30 to:

  • Check your freezer for these blackberries. If you froze them to eat later, do not eat them.
  • Throw away any remaining blackberries.
  • If you have eaten these blackberries, purchased fresh and later frozen, within the last 14 days and are not vaccinated against hepatitis A, contact your local health department or healthcare provider to discuss getting postexposure prophylaxis (hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin). Getting postexposure prophylaxis within 14 days of exposure can help prevent illness.

The CDC said illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes for symptoms to appear after exposure and the time it takes between when someone becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Hepatitis A is a virus that infects the liver and can cause mild, flu-like symptoms for several weeks. The CDC said symptoms of hepatitis A usually appear 2 to 7 weeks after exposure and can include

  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach pain
  • Throwing up
  • Fever
  • Dark urine or light-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling tired
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